By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor

No matter which league's banner he's fishing under, Jordan Lee is having a heck of a season.

The Alabamian who'll celebrate his 33rd birthday in a few weeks bid a fond farewell to the MLF Bass Pro Tour by winning the Heavy Hitters event at Florida's Kissimmee Chain for the second time last month. Now he returns his focus to the Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year (AOY) race, where he sits in 2nd place behind rookie sensation Trey McKinney. That circuit makes a stop at Wheeler Lake in his home state this week.

The two-time Bassmaster Classic champion returned to the Elite Series this year after five stellar campaigns on the BPT, where he won the AOY and the MLF Championship in 2020, along with two victories in regular-season derbies in addition to his Heavy Hitters triumphs. He has four Top-15 finishes in five Elite outings in 2024, with a 31st-place showing at Lake Murray the only outlier.

"I've just been making really good decisions all year," he said. "Maybe I'm not getting on the bite during practice at every tournament, but by the end of the week I've been figuring it out and that's the name of the game at this level. It's what I've been doing a little better than usual."

He won Heavy Hitters by employing one of his favorite techniques – pulling a Berkley Swamp Lord frog across hydrilla mats in Lake Toho. He was one of the few anglers to discover its potential (5th-place finisher Brandon Coulter was another), which stemmed from Toho having more grass than usual and the water level being down, which caused the vegetation to mat up.

"It's how I grew up fishing from when I was 16 or 17 years old, but I've done most of it in the fall," he said. "Nobody was doing it (at Kissimmee) and it was kind of an untapped bite. It was a really cool bite to get on.

"It took me about 2 days to find it. I was flipping and I saw some blow holes out in the mat, so I fired a frog over there and started getting blow-ups immediately. I was getting a lot of bites."

He compiled the most weight in the field during all 4 of his days on the water (2 days of the Qualifying Round, followed by the Knockout Round and the Championship Round). On the tough-bite final day, he boated 27-14 on seven scoreable fish, outdistancing runner-up Keith Poche by more than 4 pounds.

"The best decision I made was staying on Toho in practice and not spreading myself out and splitting time between lakes," he said. "I could see all the grass and I knew there had to be a good population of bass somewhere. I knew what it potentially could be."

His hookup ratio with the frog wasn't stellar on the windy first day of the Qualifying Round due to the resulting slack in his line, but was strong after that.

"On the final day I think I caught everything that bit," he said. "That comes from a lot of time fishing with it and knowing how to slow down and be patient.

"I was making pretty long casts, maybe 120 feet, and the bites would all happen in the first half of that distance (back to the boat)."

He said the $100,000 paycheck he collected won't impact the way he approaches the remainder of the Elite Series season. If he determines that he has a shot at another win, he'll take a gamble or two. If he feels that opportunity doesn't exist, he'll plug away in pursuit of another solid finish to keep piling up points.

"I'll go into certain tournaments based on what I've done in practice, but I might be a little riskier at Smith," he said of the Cullman, Ala. event at the end of this month on a venue he's fished all of his life. "It'll probably be feast or famine, but you don't get too many chances on a place where you've got a lot of knowledge and not many other people really do."